Category: Magical Realism

An #EnterTheFantastic Author Interview | feat. “Lost and Waiting” by Amanda Read which has a heart of the natural world set within a Magical Realism world!

Posted Sunday, 25 October, 2020 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva. Updated version July 2020.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As I previously disclosed on my spotlight about “Tree Magic” – I have a soul connection to the natural world. I am a nature and wildlife photographer as well – as being out in nature is soul lifting as much as it is inspiring. You have to stand still in order to see the natural world as it is living in harmony with our world but is slightly removed from our time scales as well. If you’ve ever caught a squirrel eating a nut and realised the trance they were in without ‘seeing’ you until they were finished you see the veil between the natural world’s rhythm and our own synchronicity with nature.

I have regularly spoken about the natural world on Jorie Loves A Story – from the stories I am reading to the context of the stories which seek to bring an ecological mindset and heart for conservation onto my blog because I believe strongly those stories are necessary for today’s world. Not just due to the climatic changes we’re all experiencing but to help re-connect readers with the knowledge about the natural ecosystems they might overlook and not be as familiar with as I have become myself. Knowledge is the first step towards change and to remain connected to the connectivity of how the natural world and our world intersect is one step closer to finding better balance in how to keep Earth a healthier place.

Today, I am wicked thankful I can bring you this conversation I had with the author of “Lost and Waiting” – especially on the fringes of experiencing the loss of trees in my neighbourhood due to the nausating ways in which city planners due not consider the natural world in their plans for progress. I shared a *thread about this on my social feeds on Twitter in case anyone is curious. However, I regularly seek out literature which has a soulful connection to the natural world as I readily love to champion those stories and to help carry a torch for others to seek out similar stories for themselves.

If you love fantastical stories featuring Magical Realism plots and the curious connections between nature and humans, I think this might be a good fit for you as a reader as I feel it is for myself. Likewise, I recently spotlighted “Tree Magic” and am in the process of reading it ahead of sharing an interview with the author on the “Tree Slayer” blog tour. One of my favourite stories I’ve read involving the natural world was when I reviewed The Kinship of Clover. As much as I loved The Walking Fish for Middle Grade readers who are just discovering the natural world round them.

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An #EnterTheFantastic Author Interview | feat. “Lost and Waiting” by Amanda Read which has a heart of the natural world set within a Magical Realism world!Lost and Waiting
by Amanda Read
Source: Chapter Sampler

When Evangeline comes across a Victorian plant hunter’s journal at Kew, it is the sign she’s been waiting for. Its author, Edwin ‘Chile’ Morgan, claims to have discovered a living myth: the World Tree. Morgan’s words share life lessons and reflections on the natural world, offering Evangeline a way to overcome the grief of a stillbirth.

With journal in hand, Evangeline sets off to Chile on a journey in search of the tree at the centre of all: heaven, life and the afterlife. In her way are an unprincipled pharmaceutical multinational, an oil company set on deforestation, and an enigmatic art aficionado whose interest in her takes an unsettling turn.

A genre-bending adventure.

Genres: Biological Diversity, Botany, Ecology, Epistolary | Diaries and Journals, Horticulture, Magical Realism, Sci-Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1838534110

on 26th June, 2020

Format: Chapter Sampler | Online

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This is a Self-Published novel.
I love celebrating Self-Pub stories on Jorie Loves A Story!

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #MagicalRealism, #Nature and #Genrebender
as well as #LoveBooksTours & #LostAndWaiting

About Amanda Read

Amanda Read

Amanda Read is a novelist and short story writer. She was awarded the MA in Creative Writing, with distinction, from Bath Spa University.

In an earlier life, she received a Royal Horticultural Society Fellowship through which she trained as a plant taxonomist/systematist at the University of Reading, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Natural History Museum, London.

Amanda lives with her husband in rural Wiltshire, UK, where she can be spotted hot on the heels of Carlos and Carmen, the border terriers. She works as an agricultural research programme manager for international development.

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Posted Sunday, 25 October, 2020 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Botany, Conservation, Ecology, Environmental Activism, Environmental Advocacy, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Horticulture, Indie Author, Love Books Tours, Magical Realism, Preservation, Science, Self-Published Author

An #EnterTheFantastic Book Spotlight with Notes + Extract | featuring “Tree Magic” (Tree Magic series, Book One) by Harriet Springbett

Posted Monday, 14 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 7 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I have had a firm attachment to the natural world ever since I was a young girl – growing up with a fascination and wonderment about nature, wildlife and especially of trees! This is why when I first saw this blog tour being announced, I was super giddy about participating on the tour because any writer who can celebrate and champion the natural world in a pro-positive way is an author I would love to feature on Jorie Loves A Story!

I could immediately connect with the premise with this novel which is why I am trying to seek out a copy of this in print through my local library – there is something quite magical about how trees are the guardians within the natural habitats we visit whilst hiking or walking in natural landscapes; they know things and they remember everything. This is partially why it is soul-crushing whenever there are huge wildfire seasons like the ones that are affecting the Western United States right now and/or the fires in Australia at the turning of the New Year. Nature grieves for the losses those fires bring to those habitats but I oft felt the trees especially are full of the grief of what could not be protected and what fell at their feet due to how the forests have not been able to withstand fire as they had in the past. I still remember hearing about the old growth forests of the Redwoods recently and of how achingly hard it was to see them aflame.

I have regularly spoken about the natural world on Jorie Loves A Story – from the stories I am reading to the context of the stories which seek to bring an ecological mindset and heart for conservation onto my blog because I believe strongly those stories are necessary for today’s world. Not just due to the climatic changes we’re all experiencing but to help re-connect readers with the knowledge about the natural ecosystems they might overlook and not be as familiar with as I have become myself. Knowledge is the first step towards change and to remain connected to the connectivity of how the natural world and our world intersect is one step closer to finding better balance in how to keep Earth a healthier place.

Today, I am wicked thankful I can bring you a short extract from “Tree Magic” whilst I am also supporting the author again in October with an interview when “Tree Slayer” the sequel to this lovely novel goes on tour. I look forward to conversing with you then about the series whilst today serves a preview of how the series begins! If you love fantastical stories featuring Magical Realism plots and the curious connections between nature and humans, I think this might be a good fit for you as a reader as I feel it is for myself.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

An #EnterTheFantastic Book Spotlight with Notes + Extract | featuring “Tree Magic” (Tree Magic series, Book One) by Harriet SpringbettTree Magic
by Harriet Springbett
Source: Chapter Sampler

Thirteen-year-old Rainbow discovers she can communicate with trees.

But that’s just the beginning. Her magic hands can shape trees at her will, but her gift is dangerous and has fatal consequences. An accident that leaves Rainbow unconscious leads her mother to make a confession that will change Rainbow’s life forever. Are her abilities a gift or a curse? Can Rainbow really trust her mother? From England to France, through secrets, fears and parallel worlds, Rainbow’s journey to understand her powers takes her beyond everything she’s ever known.

To find the truth, she must also find herself.

Genres: Magical Realism, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-911293-63-7

ASIN: B087MCBT53

Also by this author: Tree Slayer

Also in this series: Tree Slayer


Published by Impress Books

on 11th August, 2020

Format: Chapter Sampler | Online

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by:  Impress Books (@ImpressBooks1)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback* and Ebook

NOTE: Although this title was released into print, I am having trouble sourcing where it is currently available to be purchased as it is listed as being out of stock. However, I am going to try to source this through my local library’s ILL services – perhaps through inter-library loan I can fetch a copy? This is being newly released digitally and the pub date reflected is for the ebook.

Further Enquiries: I was thankful the author updated me on the new ISBN for the print edition of this novel – I’ve updated the listing for this post to reflect the ISBN for the August 2020 print edition of “Tree Magic” – however, the only bookstore online I can find this listed on is Book Depository. Thereby it is still a bit harder for me to source and I am going to try to get this either by way of the older edition via ILL at my local library or hopefully through a new purchase request through one of my regional libraries. I shall keep my readers updated on my progress. The link for LibraryThing has been updated to reflect the new ISBN however I left WorldCat’s link to route to the older edition in case other readers like me need to seek the book through inter-library loans.

Converse via: #YALit, #Trees and #Magic, #MagicalRealism, #YAFantasy
as well as #LoveBooksTours & #TreeMagic

About Harriet Springbett

Harriet Springbett

Harriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.

She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.

Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition.

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Posted Monday, 14 September, 2020 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Coming-Of Age, Indie Author, Love Books Tours, Magical Realism, Young Adult Fiction

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “Solomon’s Bell” (Book Two: Genie Chronicles) by Michelle Lowery Combs

Posted Wednesday, 20 May, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: A few years ago now, I started to review for World Weaver Press – until I reached the day where my focus on the stories I was receiving for review fell by the wayside. A lot of this had to do with my personal health, the recovery of my father’s stroke and other things which bring adversity into your life which can and will affect your readerly life. I cannot remember exactly what first took me away from reading “Heir to the Lamp” or the sequel “Solomon’s Bell” – however, I did attempt to read them at various moments throughout the past few years including shortly after I received “Solomon’s Bell” for which I posted a Cover Reveal and Extract.

During our 2nd Year (2019) for #WyrdAndWonder, I wanted to redeem myself a bit by getting back into the stories I attempted to read during our 1st year of #WyrdAndWonder (2018) but due to the migraines and other issues I was having with my health, I was unable to complete my reading schedule for the event. This is one of the series I was most eager to read and am thankful I finally was able to start reading it during our 2nd Year of Wyrd and Wonder whilst finishing it in our 3rd. As I know there are other readers who are following or joining the event directly who appreciate Magical Realism and/or stories of the Jinn as much as I do. Perhaps they will find a new author through my ruminations and as always, I hope whenever I feature a story or anthology by World Weaver Press – word will continue to get out about this lovely Indie Publisher for Speculative Fiction!

I received a complimentary copy of “Solomon’s Bell” direct from the publisher World Weaver Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

I admit it, ever since I met a ‘Golem’ & a ‘Jinni’, I’ve been intrigued by Magical Realism stories involving the Jinn!:

Set during a pivotal game for Virginia as a competitive JV Girls’ Basketball competitor – we open the story as Ginn is about to receive some humbling and surprising news about herself, her destiny and the ways in which she previously perceived her world. You can intuit this through the revelation at the end of the game – where her team is down for the count, the opposing team has a new member whose height puts them at a distinct advantage and where Ginn’s team is doing everything they can not to  lose the faith they could win the game from the underdog status they found themselves trying to overcome. It is here – as we are with Ginn in the car with her family as they make their way to the gym to see the game, we notice a few things about her – she’s not comfortable being in a large family nor is she enthused about having as many siblings as she has which were achieved through adoption.

The adoption side of her life is lightly touched upon – mostly through the angst of a thirteen year old who isn’t quite sure why her parents wanted to keep adding to their family or have to take-on the world whenever someone from outside the family grew critical of their choices in life; especially in how they grew their family through adoption. You can understand her perspective on the matter – as she has an eclectic sibling group whilst you can also appreciate the heart and humbled spirit of her parents who wanted to raise children and did not have a preference of whether or not they were all biologically related to them. I have a soft spot for stories involving Adoption – as I am desiring to adopt from foster care in the future – therefore, whenever I see a story involving Adoption, I do take a more critical eye on how it is discussed and how it fits into the story being told.

I think part of the reason I was struggling to anchour into story and to get into step with Ginn is how her story was being disclosed. It felt a little disjointed at first – but then, once you see her with her mother and she starts to talk about her grandmother – you start to notice her differently, seeing how much she’s trying to understand this transitional period of her life and somewhere at that junction her story starts to move forward in a way you can soak into her world.

Ginn is a girl on the brink of entering her teenage years but she’s more bogged down in worrying about what is plaguing her mind moreso than going through puberty. She has a caring mother who looks after her whenever she’s not feeling quite up to par and even goes out of her way to ensure her daughter will feel a bit better which I felt was a sweet touch. What was lovely though was seeing how a few life lessons and life philosophies were being layered into the story-line – guided by Ginn’s Mum but also, turnt over for introspective reasoning by Ginn herself. There is a point about how nightmares can overtake you if your not careful about how you extract yourself from them but also, on the importance of family. This is a close-knit family who appreciate being with their grandmother but also with each other – even if half the time, I suspect they drive each other a bit batty round the edges, as all good-natured large families do.

You have to laugh, really! Combs has worked in some cleverly placed real-world cultural points of interest into the background of the story – such as Ginn’s Mum having an affinity of interest for the cooking shows we all get excited about time after time – giving her children a bit of an interesting voyage into the culinary arts! I was smiling the whole time as apparently Ginn’s Mum isn’t as gifted in the kitchen as my Mum is nor is she as naturally intuitive about how certain ingredients work best together. This is why I was smiling the most – hearing Ginn tell it, they would be better off if they cooked from ready-made boxes and ate out on occasion if they could afford to do it.

Where the story took a turning into the fantastical is when Rashmere shows up rather unexpectedly and how he points out to Ginn all the different ways her current life is about to unravel. The expressive nature of Rashmere is too adorable! You’ll have to read the story to find out the species Rashmere is on first sight but somehow, Combs tapped into how he could be expressive despite his small presence when he initially enters Ginn’s life. In essence he steals the scene!

I immediately felt connected to Gran – she’s the kind of grandmother you can warm up to rather quickly because of her approach to life! She has a zest for humour and she has a winsome attitude when it comes to how she disarms your nerves. I loved her back-story about how she had to overcome the odds against her on the Army bases her husband had been stationed on? It shows how sometimes the people who exhume the most confidence can sometimes have their own struggles to bear and work through just like everyone else. Mostly though – she just seemed like a wicked awesome grandmother and definitely someone you could confide in the worries weighing on your mind such as the kind Ginn had on hers.

Gran had a keen ability of telling Ginn her back history in such a way that makes it credible despite the fact it has a lot of fantastical elements inside it – as this is a heritage which involves the Jinn. Though not quite the kind of Jinn everyone has heard of before but the kind who has a mixed heritage that involves the Jinn and humans. From there, what was quite impressive is how well Gran took to ensure Ginn of the details even to discuss how her feelings on this matter of disclosure were not the same as her parents – which struck me a bit as an interesting piece of information – as if Ginn’s adoptive parents dismissed a portion of her back-story, than if it weren’t for Gran disclosing the fuller story to her on her birthday, one had to wonder – would Ginn have started to deepen her curiosity about all the unexpected events happening to her since she turnt thirteen?

As we shift into the story of the Jinn – Combs does a wonderful job at educating us on the past histories of the Jinn, how they can exist and what their nature involved in regards to how they used their gifts of magic. It never felt like a specific section of information being given to you as she used Ginn’s own lack of understanding her birth origins as a route of information being passed onto the reader. The closer Ginn went with her own research, the closer we felt we understood who the Jinn were and the laws of how they existed. This also broached the topics of the books of Jinn known as the ‘grimoire’ and how the ancestry of the Jinn was as ancient as it were timeless.

Personally, my favourite character was not Ginn but Rashmere! He had the best attributes as a character but also, I felt his role in the story was so rounded and fleshed out, that his presence was a true delight to have threading through the background. I definitely am hoping he has a strong presence in the next volume of the series Solomon’s Bell as he was a keenly pivotal character within Heir to the Lamp.

This is a good novel to serve as a gateway into Magical Realism (as its the lighter side of the genre) whilst also giving a good footing of insight into Urban Fantasy and mythological Fantasy involving the Jinn. I think it would appeal to a lot of readers who are seeking a bit of danger and adventure within a fantastical world where not everything is exactly as it seems on the surface of what is being presented but where if you dig a bit deeper into the heart of what is being said, you’ll find the truth glimmering as strong as the purple smoke which is Ginn’s trademark.

-quoted from my review of Heir to the Lamp

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | “Solomon’s Bell” (Book Two: Genie Chronicles) by Michelle Lowery CombsSolomon's Bell
Subtitle: Genie Chronicles Book Two
by Michelle Lowery Combs
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Sarena Ulibarri
Source: Direct from Publisher

Ginn thinks she has problems at home until she magically lands herself in 16th Century Prague. To save her family, Ginn uses her newfound genie powers to transport herself and her friends to 16th century Prague. Only one thing there remains the same as at home: she can't let anyone know what she really is.

The Emperor of Prague and those closest to him are obsessed with magic. In pursuit of it, they’ve waged war on the citizens of their city. In the citizens' defense, someone has brought to life a golem, a dangerous being with connections to an artifact capable of summoning and commanding an entire army of genies.

Can Ginn escape the notice of the Emperor as she attempts to discover a way to defeat Prague’s golem in time to save her family from a similar creature?

Solomon's Bell is the sequel to Heir to the Lamp and the second book of the Genie Chronicles series.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Magical Realism, YA Fantasy, YA Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on World Weaver Press

ISBN: 978-0997788877

Also by this author: Solomon's Bell (Cover Reveal + Extract), Heir to the Lamp

Also in this series: Heir to the Lamp


Published by World Weaver Press

on 7th March, 2017

Pages: 224

Published By: World Weaver Press (@WorldWeaver_wwp)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook

The Genie Chronicles series:

Heir to the Lamp by Michelle Lowery CombsSolomon's Bell by Michelle Lowery Combs

Genre(s): Speculative | Young Adult | Fantasy | Lore & Legends

the Jinn (or Jinnis or Genies) | Adoption

Similar Reads: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (see also Review)

About Michelle Lowery Combs

Michelle Lowery Combs

Michelle Lowery Combs is an award-winning writer and book blogger living in rural Alabama with her husband, one cat and too many children to count. She spends her spare time commanding armies of basketball and soccer munchkins for the Parks & Recreation departments of two cities.

When not in the presence of throngs of toddlers, tweens and teens, Michelle can be found neglecting her roots and dreaming up the next best seller. She is a member of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave, Jacksonville State University’s Writers’ Club and her local Aspiring Authors group.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 20 May, 2020 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Adoption, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Equality In Literature, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Foster Care, Indie Author, Magical Realism, Orphans & Guardians, Siblings, Speculative Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, World Weaver Press, Young Adult Fiction